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A New World…Out of Nothing

Circle Limit III, M. C. Escher, 1959This interactive, interdisciplinary workshop told the story of how a non-Euclidean geometry was created in the 19th century, "out of nothing." This breakthrough had huge influence in many areas of knowledge, from philosophy, to the arts, to the physical sciences.

Participants were introduced to new ways of seeing distance and shapes, exploring how the new geometry influenced work in the arts, literature and fiction, and how it was the basis of some fundamental discoveries in physics, such as relativity.

Study for stars, M.C. Escher, 1948

There was the chance to engage, in an informal way, with some abstract mathematical concepts.

The workshop also featured a panel discussion on how we communicate science to non-experts.

Parcipipants were guided on their journey by a group of experts:

Prof Jeremy Gray (University of Warwick and Open University), Historian of Mathematics

Dr Mairi Walker (University of Edinburgh), Mathematics Engagement Officer

Prof Robert Lambourne (Open University), Professor of Educational Physics

Prof Hugo Parlier (University of Fribourg), researcher in Geometry and Topology and co-creator of Mathema

The workshop, funded by IATL and IAS (Warwick Institute of Advanced Study), was open to all Warwick students and staff, and to all members of the wider University community. No prior knowledge of mathematics was required.

For more information contact Francesca Iezzi (

View the schedule


Wednesday 16 November 2016


MS.01, Zeeman Building, University of Warwick